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Monday, April 10, 2017

Week 1


(found this online)
It has been hugely productive, revelational and (even) fun to, as part of a class that several others and I teach, have students plot out (on the whiteboard) their timeline.


See timelines for several more classes here

Find the joke (s) ?

Excerpts from the Babylonian Creation Account (required reading for Week 1)

In the following translation, parentheses enclose words that have no equivalent in the original but have been added for fluency or intelligibility. Words in brackets are restorations. (?) is added to words of uncertain meaning. Ellipses due to breaks in the original or due to the unintelligibility of the text are marked.... Words that are underlined are transliterations from the original language.
Reading 1
When above the heaven had not (yet) been named, (and) below the earth had not (yet) been called by a name; (when) Apsu primeval, their begetter, Mununu, (and) Tiamat, she who gave birth to them all, (still) mingled their waters together, And no pasture land had been formed (and) not (even) a reed marsh was to be seen; When none of the (other) gods had been brought into being, (When) they had not (yet) been called by (their) name(s, and their) destinies had not (yet) been fixed, (At that time) were gods create within them.
Reading 2
Marduk, thou art (the most) important among the great gods,
Thy destiny is unequaled, thy command is (like that of) Anu.
From this day onward thy command shall not be changed.
To exalt and to abase -- this shall be thy power!
Dependable shall be the utterance of thy mouth, thy command shall not prove vain.
Reading 3
They gave him an irresistible weapon smiting the enemy, (saying:)
"Go and cut off the life of Tiamat. May the winds carry her blood to the out-of-the-way places.”
After the gods his fathers determined the destiny of Bel,
They set him on the road -- the way to success and attainment.
He made a bow and decreed (it) as his weapon;
An arrowhead he put (on the arrow and) fastened the bowstring to it.
He took up the club and grasped (it) in his right hand;
The bow and the quiver he hung at his side.
The lightning he set before him;
With a blazing flame he filled his body.
He made a net to enclose Tiamat within (it),
(And) had the four winds take hold that nothing of her might escape;
The south wind, the north wind, the east wind, (and) the west wind,
The gift of his (grand)father, Anu, he caused to draw high to the border(s) of the net.
He created imhullu: the evil wind, the cyclone, the hurricane,
The fourfold wind, the sevenfold wind, the whirlwind, the wind incomparable.
He sent forth the winds which he had created, the seven of them;
To trouble Tiamat within, they arose behind him.
Reading 4
and then he returned to Tiamat, whom he had subdued.
The Lord trod upon the hinder part of Tiamat.
And with his unsparing club he split (her) skull.
He cut the arteries of her blood
And caused the north wind to carry (it) to out-of-the-way places.
When his fathers saw (this), they were glad and rejoiced
(And) sent him dues (and) greeting gifts.
He took Bib 451 at FPU and loved it.
The Lord rested, examining her dead body,
To divide the abortion (and) to create ingenious things (therewith).
He split her open like a mussel (?) into two (parts);
Half of her set in place and formed the sky (therewith) as a roof.
He fixed the crossbar (and) posted guards;
He commanded them not to let her waters escape....

Translation from Alexander Heidel, The Babylonian Genesis, University of Chicago Press, 2nd ed., 1951, as quoted in Norman K. Gottwald, A Light to the Nations. Harper and Row Publishers, 1959. 

As you'll remember, when I took a version of this class at FPC (it wasn't a U yet), I had cool typewriter

I look forward this class..I think you'll' enjoy it, too..
 ...I did when I took it in 1983>>

BIB 314 asks, "Who is Jesus?"

and "What is Church?"

This class asks
  • "1)How do I read a text of Scripture via a Three Worlds approach?"
  • 2)"What does Scripture have to say about community?
  • 3)What does Scripture have to say about my major?

"What race is that guy, anyway?":


  •  How was he able to get away with telling jokes on different cultures?
  • Have you experienced racial prejudice/racism?
  • How is Jesus the definitive bicultural person?
  • -For those who are African-American or Asian-American, how does it feel that "Jesus was Asian" and spent time on both continents?

CULTURE: a way of thinking, feeling, valuing and acting by one or more persons.

Wow!  All communication is texting, and all communication is cross-cultural.
All marriages are cross-cultural.

What continent is Israel on?

"What continent is Israel on?"
How did you answer the question? 
Answer it in your mind, and then scroll down.

There is only one right answer, obviously. 

 But every time I ask the question--in Israel or in class--people stumble, and tentatatively give the wrong answers: Europe?  Africa?  Middle East?
The only right answer is:

Does that sound surprising or shocking?
Sooo..that means: Jesus was Asian.
People laugh when you say that.  But it's true...and important that Jesus lived in Asia;  born and died there. That was his home. In our contemporary world, we think Asian means only Chinese, Japanese etc.
Jesus was Asian! Note I didn't say He IS Asian, as I believe He is bigger than that now, but while on earth as a human he was ethnically  Jewish...and  Asian.  So He thought and lived an Eastern, Mediterranean, Hebrew, Occidental, ASIAN worldview.  This will become important later in class.

POST the phrase "Jesus was Asian" on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter..or text or say it to at least three people. Then post below some of the responses you got.  Some people will accuse you of being crazy.
But for now, have fun watching these two  funny videos, and then comment below in a paragraph to the idea of Jesus being Asian.  Include a reference to both videos.  Respond to the posts of at least two others.

a TEXT is technically ":any message  in any medium, designed to communicate anything"
so obviously the Bible counts as a TEXT message. you



From the ridiculous:

  • "I am stuck on Band Aid..
  • "Never let a kiss fool you..
To the sublime:
  • "Ask not what your country can do for you.."
  • "God is good all the time.."
  • "When the going gets tough.."
  • "Accept rejection.."
  • Doing things right? That's management. Leadership is doing...
  • It's not the size of the dog in the fight..."
  • Failing to plan is..
To the biblical:

  • The first shall be last...
  • Whoever humbles themself will be exalted...
  • You do unto others...
  •  He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous

Chiasm(definition) )

Chiasmus represented as an "X" structure. When read left to right, top to bottom, the first topic (A) is reiterated as the last, and the middle concept (B) appears twice in succession... once you are attuned to seeing them in Scripture (and most ancient literature) it seems they are everywhere.

Sometimes they are.

A good way to end a speech (see 13 minute mark):


the two stories of creationGen 1:1 – 2:3 and Gen. 2:4-25). 
 Camp and  Roberts (FPU faculty) note:

The two accounts are separate but complementary, like the four gospels. They can be read at different levels, from literal to figurative, with no bearing on the truth of it. Poetry is not less true than a newspaper, just a different kind or mode of truth. And, one must always ask the question what the implied author intended and what the implied audience would have understood. Ancient notions of history are very different from ours.
Genesis 1:

repetitious, tabular, formal
days of creation reported in the same way, formulaic
authority and brevity
style of ordering material into a series of similar solemn commands are unchallenged
content presents major divisions of creation known to writer
catalog or tabulation of events and commands
vocabulary = create (bara), humanity as likeness/image, male/fernale
God = Elohim, characterized as powerful cosmic organizer, speaks things into being, stands outside of cosmos and controls it
Humanity = created as vice regent, created in image gives representative status
polemic against mythical concepts of life and creation
Genesis 2:
relationship of characters emphasized
language is picturesque and flowing, poetic terms, colorful
God's actions more interrelated than separated by divisions of time or set expressions (idioms)
no two acts are alike and none are preceded by divine command
vocabulary = form (yasar), humanity as living being, man/woman
God = Yahweh, characterized by immanence, personal nearness, involvement on human scene, intimate master, depicted humanly (hands, walking, digging)
Humanity = ready contact with and immediate responsibility to God. Humanity's creation linked to ground (word play on adam = man and adamah = ground) and curse is alienation from the land, is distinctive because Yahweh personally addresses him
polemic against fertility cults in Canaan
Compare Genesis accounts to Babylonian Creation story (read an excerpt here). Significant similarities – Genesis is not written in a vacuum. Significant differences – lack of violence, struggle, multiple gods, etc.

Enuma Elish:
a.     creation by word - Marduk has this power. They tell him to open his mouth. At the word of his mouth XXX vanishes or reappears.
b.    command over elements - Marduk enlists wind and storm to defeat Tiamat, but battles with elements too.
c.     Tiamat is split in two and body is used to retain waters and set firmament and ground.
d.    sets stars in their place, gives moon and sun jurisdiction, setting days 
e.     creation of man - "blood I will make and bones I will cause to be" new idea like  Genesis but he creates out of a dead god's body and for the purpose of "the relief of the gods".
In Genesis, we see a carefully structured account, bringing order out of chaos. The sea and darkness are elements of chaos in the ancient world. No work can be done in the dark; salt water kills agriculture; unknown depths and sea creatures are in the sea. God has ability to control and limit these. Chaos is not eliminated or bounded. God creates out of nothing (vs. other creation myths of the day), and the verb used for "create" (bara) is something no human ever does in the Old Testament. Only God does this action. There are also no elements of struggle or battle to create, which is typical of other contemporary creation myths. God simply speaks or shapes things into being. There are also no birthing images, which are common in other myths, and quickly lead to a confusion between Creator and creature (vs. God as wholly other), and to fertility cults. Also, most other creation myths were a people’s story (how the Mesopotamians came to be, for instance). Genesis is not presented as Israel’s story, but as the story of the world. ( to really appreciate the beauty and brilliance of these chapters, one has to read Hebrew. These verses are packed with wordplays and puns. It may not immediately occur to one that puns are a good form of theological education, but…)
          -Camp and Roberts KKK 



      Which list of the Ten Commandments is the "real" list??

      We joked you could win $100 by saying, :Let me read you a list of the Ten Commandments, the only list the Bible explicity calls the Ten Commandments.  Tell if this is the list.  A hundred bucks says I'm right.  Then read them the Ten Commandments from Exodus 34!!:

                            Exodus 20                                                                     Exodus 34: Note: this list, NOT THE 
                                                                                                             OTHER, is the one that says "THESE ARE    
                                                                                                              THE TEN COMMANDMENTS"                                                          

      1. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me.
      1. Thou shalt worship no idol. (For the Lord is a jealous god).  Smash all idols,
      2. You shall not make for yourself a graven image. You shall not bow down to them or serve them.
      2. Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.
      3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. 3. The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep in the month when the ear is on the corn.
      4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
      4. All the first-born are mine.
      5. Honor your father and your mother.
      5. Six days shalt thou work, but on the seventh thou shalt rest.
      6. You shall not kill.
      6. Thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, even of the first fruits of the wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end.
      7. You shall not commit adultery.
      7. Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread.
      8. You shall not steal.
      8. The fat of my feast shall not remain all night until the morning.
      9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
      9. The first of the first fruits of thy ground thou shalt bring unto the house of the Lord thy God.
      10. You shall not covet.
      10. Thou shalt not boil a kid in its mother's milk.

      These look only loosely related to the list we've all heard from Exodust= 2O